The Illinois House has approved a proposal that would raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour over five years.
House lawmakers voted 61 to 53 Tuesday.
Lawmakers approved the bill with a 61-53 vote largely along party lines, but Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, filed a motion to keep it from moving to the Senate. Democratic Rep. Will Guzzardi said supporters were working to make sure the measure had enough support in the other chamber.
After the legislation passed, Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, put the bill on hold in the House. Guzzardi said the move was to ensure “all their ducks were in a row” before sending the bill to the Senate.
“It’s just some procedural work that we’re trying to do on our side to make sure everything is in order,” he said. “I’m still optimistic that we’re going to get this thing passed to the Senate and onto the governor by the end of the day tomorrow night.”
The Senate has passed several minimum wage bills in the past only to see them die in the House.
So, the bill’s passage took just about everyone by surprise yesterday, both in the House and in the Senate, which hadn’t yet met in caucus to talk about the bill. They even had to change the Senate’s chief sponsor yesterday to the person who normally handles this issue.
There’s a lot of suspicion and finger-pointing, with some senators believing that Speaker Madigan is playing his usual games with the issue and may not send it to the Senate until it’s too late, and some House members worried that the Senate can’t pass the bill. We’ll see.
Rep. Scott Drury, a Highwood Democrat who has often split with Madigan, took the opportunity to bash the leaders of his party for failing to call the wage hike for a vote when they had veto-proof control of the General Assembly or when there was a Democratic governor. Drury suggested that the Democratic leaders had called it for a vote in order to put the Republican governor on the spot.
“I am truly, truly concerned that what is going on here is that Maria, that one of our colleagues spoke about, is being used as a pawn to embarrass our Republican governor,” Drury said, referring to a minimum wage worker whose struggles to make a living were pointed to by Democratic lawmakers during debate on the floor. “It’s all about the left embarrassing the right and the right embarrassing the left.”
Drury is right.
*** UPDATE 1 *** As of 4:42 this afternoon, the motion to reconsider has still not been removed.
*** UPDATE 2 *** The motion to reconsider has been withdrawn.